The user reviews seem invested in two separate issues - whether this is a faithful adaptation of the books or whether it is a worthy successor to the Twilight series. Given that my wife forced me to watch this movie - and I have never seen a Twilight film and don't plan on it in the near future - I thought I could add some perspective not covered by the other reviews.
First, this is a terrible movie. The plot is convoluted and basically involves a rather mundane version of the "love conquers all" narrative. If you've ever watched a teen movie, you probably can trace its broad contours, although it adds a weird Civil War backstory and some witch crap for seemingly no reason. The best (and most interesting) moments of the entire movie are when you strip out the fantasy garbage and focus on the teens being normal people, even though, for the most part, they are both unremarkable characters.
Second, this movie is a ridiculously stereotypical portrait of the South, one that somehow simultaneously is disrespectful to its residents and somehow at the same time manages to neatly avoid all its problems. For starters, if you're looking for anything close to a respectful depiction of race relations, you're going to be sadly disappointed. The only two black characters are a popular teenager with no brain and the equivalent of the Jamaican voodoo doctor. In addition, the Southern white characters are portrayed as basically stupid hicks, who do weird things like pray in class and talk about Satanism. Especially in contemporary society, teenagers are relatively homogenized by YouTube culture, and they are a little more sophisticated than religious fanatics. Basically, every single character is a stereotype. Interestingly enough, though, the movie even insults our intelligence by failing to depict the rampant self- segregation throughout the South. The movie doesn't even attempt to touch anything about race and uses the Civil War mostly as a set piece to talk about the lives of white people. Granted, I don't watch a lot of teenage dramas, but it's insulting to think that they aren't capable of the critical awareness that is necessary to responsibly deal with these questions. Honestly, it's embarrassing that such high-profiled actors would be involved in this kind of movie that romanticizes the plantation and whitewashes Southern life.
On top of that, the casting in this movie is ridiculous. Jeremy Irons is just not believable as an old Southern gentleman, and for all my respect for him as an actor, he's absurd in this part. The main actor has a Southern accent that made me literally laugh when he walked on the screen. Emma Thompson, to her credit, is much better in her role, but sometimes it seems like she's struggling to add depth to the lines. I actually thought Viola Davis was the only actor who "stood out" as being effective in her particular role.
I could say more about the movie. The soundtrack, for example, was laughably heavy-handed, and I haven't even begun to talk about issues of gender representation. However, suffice to say, this movie reveals quite a bit about Hollywood's insulting perception of teenagers. They are capable of thinking at a deeper level than is shown in this movie. I continue to be amazed at how Hollywood "talks down" to its audience and then is surprised at why movie profits decline because people choose to stay at home and watch good television. I don't think the question of whether this movie stayed true to its source material is a particularly interesting one - it's difficult for me to imagine a way this particular plot with these characters could ever become something more than pop drivel.
Action / Drama / Fantasy / Romance
Action / Drama / Fantasy / Romance
Teenager Ethan Wate is obsessed with his urge to finish high school and go on to college in order to leave the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina behind, until a mysterious girl begins to inhabit his dreams. When he meets Lena Duchannes, a newcomer who has just enrolled in his school, Ethan knows she is the girl in his dreams. Lena is rejected by the rest of her classmates for being the niece of Macon Ravenwood, whom the town's superstitious residents consider to be a devil-worshiper. But Ethan gives her a ride anyway and they fall in love. Lena reveals to her new boyfriend that she is a witch, and that on her sixteenth birthday she will be claimed by either the forces of light or of darkness. She will remain in the light, but only if she does not remain in love with Ethan. To make matters worse, her evil mother, Sarafine, is casting spells to push Lena to the dark side. Ethan joins her in a search to find a magic spell to save their doomed love. Will the lovers succeed?
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May 04, 2013 at 09:24 AM